August 07, 2014

Fall Harvest Dessert Table

Fall harvest wedding dessert table
Either the weather has been a little off lately--maybe I have the air conditioning turned up too high--or something in the air has been making it feel more like fall. Back to school advertisements still get to me too, even though I haven't been "back to school" in years. And like my Dad says every year, "the start of the CNE officially means that summer is over!" I wanted to take a look back at a dessert table I made for a friend's wedding last November. During the blistery, cold weeks of November, the sky opened up one Saturday with beaming, warm sunshine for their beautiful wedding day. The theme of the wedding was "fall harvest" and incorporated many elements we will start to see in a month or two as the seasons change.

Fall colours dessert table
My friend called me up before her wedding and asked if I could make the desserts. Of course I said yes, and asked about the things she wanted and pretended like I was a professional dessert table maker: "What is your inspiration?" "What are your favourite desserts?" "What are your wedding colours?" I was beyond excited and didn't realize at the time how much work was actually involved in making THAT many desserts. Like most things, I got overly excited and started shopping (and pretend shopping in my mind) for accessories, candies, platters and decorations. I wanted to give a gift to the couple without going overboard. Are there any dessert table designers out there? How do you manage to not go crazy with wish-list props and accessories? I purchased the mini buckets, baskets and mini burlap pumpkins from Target and the scented branches and napkins from Loblaws. 

Candy buffet for fall wedding
After shopping, it was time to start baking. The requirement was 100 cupcakes and then anything else I wanted to make. The couple said they liked Nanaimo bars, lemon desserts and chocolate. The colours were reds, golds, oranges, browns and anything fall-related with fall vegetables, leaves and books wrapped in vintage paper for their decorations. 

I decided on a final selection of chocolate and vanilla cupcakes, a small pumpkin cake, Nanaimo bars, lemon tarts, strawberry tarts and assorted candy. There was already a candy bar at the wedding, so the candy I brought was a little something extra. I also bought sprinkles in the shapes of fall leaves from Bulk Barn to decorate the cupcakes. Don't shame me, but the cupcake batter was from a mix although I made the buttercream icing from scratch like I normally do. A few days before, I made the icing and tart dough and then the cupcakes, cake and bars the day before. I'm not going to lie; it was a lot of baking. Once I had a rhythm going on the cupcakes and tarts, I got all of the batches done in no time. It was like an assembly line process: in the oven, out of the oven and into the box. 

Harvest themed wedding dessert table

The couple used a salt and pepper shaker as an adorable cake topper. There was a Little Red Riding Hood motif throughout the wedding because when they were first dating, they went to a Halloween party dressed as Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad wolf--in an extremely impressive hand sewn wolf costume. It's like a fairytale come true, albeit a somewhat dark fairytale...if you find the premise of a creepy wolf stalking a girl in the forest romantic. I'm kidding. I thought the idea was a cute way to incorporate their own story and it is always nice to see personal touches in weddings. 

Nanaimo bars

During the preparations, she asked me how on earth I would transport 100 cupcakes to the venue. "Don't worry about it," I said. "It will be fine." Here's where the process did in fact get a little stressful. When I finally sat down to think about how to transport all of these desserts to a city an hour away, I was stumped. Certainly all of the cupcakes would crush if iced beforehand, not to mention the cake. I came to the conclusion that it would be best to ice the cupcakes and cake at the venue, except we ended up leaving a little late to get there. And my wonderful husband informed me while driving there that the car may or may not overheat. I might have been freaking out a little bit. "What if I don't get everything set up in time and I ruin their desserts and they hate me and I completely failed?!" With an hour to go before the wedding, we rushed into the venue and started to set up. I put a garbage bag on over my dress and began franticly--but skillfully I think--icing all 100 cupcakes. (The pictures below are how I transported everything. I found out that roasting pans with lids made amazing cupcake carriers).

With icing dripping off of my hands, and shouting orders to my husband like "More sprinkles!" "Put those on the plate!" and "More icing!" we finished the table right as guests started to arrive. Thanks to him for almost causing and then helping to fix my crazy dessert situation. After all of that I was extremely proud of my creation and a lot of the guests gave me wonderful compliments. I think the Bride and Groom liked it too. Their smiles as they cut the cake showed me it was all worth it. 

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